January 24, 2020 / Source: The Bizz USA
By Haarika Kalahasti; Edited by Adya Kumar
Although COVID-19 has negatively impacted many small businesses, individuals have begun to step up to promote change. Another organization that emerged during this pandemic is InnovateX.
InnovateX is an organization dedicated to ensuring that personal finance and entrepreneurship education is accessible for the youth of any socioeconomic background. The organization was founded in March of 2020 by Katie Yuan, a junior at Richard Montgomery High School in Maryland, with a passion for public speaking, business, and advocacy. When quarantine hit in mid-March, Katie got inspired to create something due to the economy’s downward spiral and its impact on many small businesses. As a student with an interest and proficiency in economics and personal finance, she was hoping to spread her knowledge to kids her age, due to its significance in today’s economic state. So, shortly, Katie started InnovateX to educate students about financial literacy, provide resources to create their own social ventures, and create a positive impact on the community. “Knowing all the information is good, but knowing how to apply this information to the real world is more important, which is what InnovateX hopes to help students do,” Katie says.
Currently, InnovateX aims to educate, equip, and empower youth from elementary to high schoolers, depending on the service. They offer plenty of services and opportunities four their audience as listed:
If interested in getting involved in any one of these programs, you may email them and check out their website and social media links. Currently, applications are open! The time commitments and the positions can be found here. They also have a special opportunity for YOU to become a leader in your community! With the help of InnovateX, you can start a chapter at your own school! As an included bonus, the InnovateX team will provide each chapter with a chapter starter kit, which includes a whole year’s worth of lesson plans and curriculums, teacher notes, student handouts, outreach resources, which will ensure your chapter will run smoothly. More information regarding starting a chapter and registration can be found here.
What differentiates InnovateX from other organizations is that they provide an abundance of opportunities and programs to fulfill its mission. Katie hopes that one day it will become a widely known platform all ages of the youth use to gain business and financial knowledge vital to our generation.
It’s truly inspiring to see the leaders of Gen Z, like Katie Yuan, use their voices to help others! When asked about her experience starting InnovateX, Katie said “It has been difficult starting because I was juggling hard classes at school. The first few months were tough, but once I got past those, it was a breeze. Everything was much easier since we had built a solid foundation to base it on. I’m also thankful for the people I’ve met! I met people I wouldn’t have met otherwise and I’m really glad I got the chance to meet some wonderful people.” It’s amazing to see how Katie and her team have been able to bring InnovateX this far and accomplish so much in a short amount of time! Katie’s two-part advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners is to “know the problem before anything. If you rush on it without knowing the issue at hand, often times you will create solutions for problems that don’t exist or solutions that don’t solve the issue. Just understand the problem before and talk to people, as they offer perspectives that you wouldn’t get from an online search. Once you find those problems and how you’re going to address them, don’t hesitate to get started. There’s no perfect time for when you should enter the market. You should just take a leap of faith and take a risk. If it doesn’t work well, don’t worry; startups fail in a few months and that’s normal! The most important thing is learning from your failures and knowing what you can improve on from your past mistakes. Don’t be afraid to talk to people and try new things. Just like Nike says ‘Just Do It’, don’t listen to anyone who tries to put you down because you want to do what you are really passionate about and make that impact.”
These words of wisdom are vital to starting a business and ones entrepreneurs of all kinds must have in mind! Katie’s passion for personal finance and entrepreneurship and her ability to take charge in her community is something the world needs a bit more of, and it’s impressive to see young leaders, like Katie Yuan make a difference!